Author Archive

6 Tips for Digitizing Continuous Line Designs

Have you tried your hand at digitizing quilting designs, continuous line designs? Follow these 6 tips to create your own quilting designs

Continuous line designs present unique challenges to digitizers. Since the designs are just one line of thread, there’s not a lot of room for error. But the biggest challenge may be in the pathing – where the needle will travel throughout the design. Sometimes the pathing is intuitive. Other times, you’ll have to make several attempts at creating streamlined pathing.

Start with pencil and paper. Sketching a continuous line design is the best way to address the pathing. Even if it’s digital clip art, print it out and trace over it. If you have to lift the pencil to draw the next area, there’s going to be a break in the stitching.  Find another solution like backtracking (retracing over previous stitches) or looping (adding an extra design element like a vein on a leaf) to get to the next area.

Dive in –Go to the software and get started. You’ll find the time spent sketching/tracing has already focused your brain on the task. Sketching is like stretching exercises before a run – they prep your mind and body for the task ahead. Start drawing the design and adding nodes.  It will flow faster than you think. Don’t worry if it looks like a mess at first. You can tweak each node later.

The Close Line feature is a time saver. If you’re drawing a closed shape, at the last node, right mouse click and select Close Line from the drop down menu. The shape will instantly close and you won’t waste time wondering why your continuous line turned into a two-ply. In Perfect Embroidery Pro, draw the shape, (setting modes with a click of the mouse), when the shape is complete, right mouse click to end the line.  Select the Shape tool, right mouse click and select Close Line.CL4BL

The Slow Draw tool is your best friend.  Before you begin tweaking the nodes, click on the Slow Draw tool. This tool allows you to focus on the pathing. Keep a close eye on the screen as the design stitches.  Get your pathing right, and then tweak the nodes.CL1BL

Zoom in. Magnifying the stitches on the screen helps you see exactly where they lie in the design.  This is quite helpful when perfecting individual shapes within a design. There are several ways to zoom in on a design in Inspriations’ software programs. The most obvious is to click on the magnifying glass.CL2BL

Or select a percentage from the drop down menu at the top tool bar.CL3BL

If you’re using a mouse, just push the wheel away from you to zoom in.  Do this while holding down the CTRL key and the magnified area will focus on the location of the cursor, not the center of the screen. That’s a huge time saver!

It’s important to remember when you are zoomed in, you are seeing a magnified view of the stitches – not what it will appear when sewn. So don’t stress out too much!  Pull back to actual size often to keep it in perspective.

Save As often. You really can’t have too many versions of your work. Go to File/Save As and rename the design every time. Eventually, you’ll be satisfied with the final design and you delete the earlier versions.  But during the design phase, it’s wise to keep each version. Just go for something basic like HeartV1, HeartV2, HeartV3, etc. Use the same method for all your digitizing and you’ll know where to find your latest and greatest.

I’ve found these tips to be real time-savers. I seem to be immersed in quilting designs right now – there’s so many beautiful designs dancing in my head! I’d love to know what you’ve been working on.

Remembering Nancy Zieman

I think about Nancy Zieman often – absolutely every time I’m sewing. I use her patterns, her tools, her books and her techniques.  Since I learned to sew by watching Sewing with Nancy, of course it makes sense that I would think of her when I sew.

We wrote books together, developed product and taped almost 20 Sewing with Nancy episodes.

But we were friends and I treasured my relationship with her. She was a wise woman. Patient, fair and classy.  I miss her tremendously.  If I was facing a business challenge, she was the first person I called.  As our friendship deepened, I would turn to her for personal advice and she would do the same to me.

You don’t replace a friend like Nancy but you can honor her legacy by remembering what she meant to you. Even if you never met her, there’s a good chance she changed your life – your sewing life – by making your hobby more enjoyable.

Today, June 21, she would have been 65 years old. I hope you’ll spend a minute and think about what Nancy meant to you. What did she teach you?  Maybe, how to accomplish large sewing tasks in 10-20-30 minutes segments?  Or how to bind a quilt or turn a collar point?  Possibly how to create a breathtaking landscape quilt?

I’d love to hear what you remember about Nancy.  Do you have a favorite technique you learned from her?  Maybe you received a hand written thank you or get well note from her.  Do you continue to watch Sewing with Nancy?  Do you have a bookshelf full of Nancy’s books?  Please share your thoughts…

 

 

Water Soluble Stabilizer Substitute

Colleen Bell’s gorgeous quilt in the most recent of Designs in Machine Embroidery (Vol. 110, May/June 2018) was made with Shannon Fabrics’ Cuddle.  Wrapping yourself in a Cuddle quilt is like submersing yourself in a teddy bear hug.  Its fibers are luxurious and irresistible to the touch. 

Those luscious fibers can make embroidering on it a challenge. The fibers want to work their way through the embroidery stitches leaving your embroidery looking lackluster. Colleen’s traditional method of taming the fibers was to add a layer of water soluble stabilizer on top of the Cuddle before adding the embroidery.  Colleen is an embroidery whiz – she knows what stabilizer to use when and what hoop is best for the job as seen in this photo. 

Her water soluble stabilizer covers the whole design area and is easily removed by just tearing it away after the embroidery is applied.  Her Snap Hoop Monster won’t leave any hoop burn on the tender Cuddle fabric.  This approach is tried and true but what if you don’t have a supply of water soluble stabilizer on hand?

Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro has the solution with one of its most popular features – Nap Blocker.  In just a few clicks you can add a light density fill BEHIND the design that will permanently hold down the fibers. Here’s how you do it.

Open your embroidery design in Perfect Embroidery Pro.  Colleen used Urban Threads UT17449, Floral Arrow. 

Select the design, right click, select Utility, Create Nap Blocker.

The Nap Blocker, a light density complex fill, is now listed as the first element of color 1. 

Select the complex fill and change its color to match the color of the fabric.  This is crucial as you want the complex fill to disappear behind the embroidery.  

Just hoop your fabric, stitch the first color in thread that matches the fabric and complete the design.  No need to tear or wash away a topper!  Love that feature!

What’s your favorite feature in PEP?

My Block Piecer Block of the Month: Block 6 Diamond Delight Sewing Instructions

My Block Piecer
Block of the Month: Block 6 Diamond Delight
Sewing Instructions

Block 6, Diamond Delight, is a two-unit block in the My Block Piecer Sampler Block of the Month. As you know, My Block Piecer splits some blocks into smaller units when a patch shares seam allowances with more than one patch. We’ll piece both units in one hoop. Then the units will be removed from the hoop and sewn together on the sewing machine with ¼” seam allowance. In the software instructions for Block 6, we merged the two separate units into one embroidery design and combined the placement guides into the first color of the merged design.

Hoop tear-away stabilizer in a large hoop. Retrieve the merged Diamond design on the machine. Stitch color 1, the placement guides for both units.

Place patch 1 fabric, right side up, over patch 1.Stitch color 2, the tackdown.

Place patch 2 fabric, right side down, over patch 1, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 3, the seam of patch 1 and 2.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 4, the tackdown.

Place patch 3 fabric, right side down, over patch 2, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 5, the seam of patches 2 and 3.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 6, the tackdown.

Place patch 4, right side down over patch 3, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 7, the seam of patches 3 and 4.

Flip the patch open and stitch color 8, the tackdown.

Place patch 5, right side down over patch 4, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 9, the seam of patches 4 and 5.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 10, the tackdown.

Place patch 6, right side down over patch 5, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color11, the seam of patches 5 and 6.

Flip the patch open and stitch color 12, the tackdown.

Place patch 7, right side down over patch 6, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 13, the seam of patches 6 and 7.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 14, the tackdown.

Place patch 8, right side down over patch 7, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color15, the seam of patches 7 and 8.

Flip the patch open and stitch color 16, the tackdown.

Place patch 9, right side down over patch 8, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 17, the seam of patches 8 and 9.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 18, the tackdown.

Place patch 10, right side down over patch 9, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color19, the seam of patches 9 and 10.

Flip the patch open and stitch color 20, the tackdown.

Place patch 11, right side down over patch 10, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 21, the seam of patches 10 and 11.

Flip the patch open and stitch color 22, the tackdown.

Follow the same steps for the second unit.

Remove the block from the hoop. Cut the units on the outer stitch lines and piece the units together on the sewing machine.

Created by Nancy Stansbury

My Block Piecer Block of the Month: Block 6 Diamond Delight Software Instructions

My Block Piecer
Block of the Month: Block 6 Diamond Delight
Software Instructions
By Nancy Stansbury

This ongoing Block of the Month series was designed to inspire you to learn new techniques using My Block Piecer.  As a reminder, the first Saturday of every month will feature the software lesson using My Block Piecer.  The following Wednesday will feature the sewing lesson.

  • You are free to adapt the block to a size of your preference.
  • A free trial of My Block Piecer is available if you’d like to try it before you buy it.  Note the “Save” feature is deactivated until the software is purchased.
  • Interested in learning more about My Block Piecer and other Inspirations Software?  Join us at an Inspirations Event.  Click the Events link for events near you.
  • If you’re late to the Block of the Month “party” have no fear!  Start with Block 6 or spend a little time catching up.

Let’s continue the journey of learning and creativity!

Before we get started, save the image below to your hard drive. Save it as Diamond_Delight.png


  1. Open MBP.
  2. Click on Create a New Design.
  3. If the units for the ruler on the design page show mm, Right Click on either one of the rulers on the Design Page, and Click on Inches.
  4. Right Click on either ruler again and click on Grid Settings.
    1. Check marks by:
      1. Maintain aspect ratio
      2. Snap to grid.
    2. Set Horizontal spacing to 0.25.
    3. Click OK.
  5. Click on the Background Tool.
    1. Locate the image Diamond_Delight.png
    2. Click on the image.
    3. Click on the Open button.
  6. On the Properties Window on the right side of the screen click on the Transform icon.
    1. Have Maintain aspect ratio checked.
    2. Change the Width to 6.
    3. Click Apply.
  7. Since the block is symmetrical from left to right, we will build only the left side of the block. After the design is completed, we will copy, paste and mirror image it to stitch the complete block. Click on the down arrow by the Artwork Icon and select the Pen tool.

    1. On the Properties Window, Check the Fill Box and Click Apply.
    2. Left Click on Color 1 at the bottom and change it to a beige.
    3. Click OK.
    4. Right Click on Color 1 to make it the color to use.
    5. Using the cross hair, Left Click on each of the 3 corners of the upper left triangle.
    6. Left Click on the first corner again.
    7. Right Click to create the patch.
    8. Repeat for each of the other three corners.

      Note: If at some point the cross hair for the pen tool disappears, just click on the Artwork icon.
    9. Left Click on Color 2 at the bottom and change it to a dark pink.
    10. Click OK
    11. Right Click on Color 2 to make it the color to use.
    12. Repeat 7e through 7h for each of the segments shown below.
    13. Continue changing colors and create the artwork for each of the other pieces of the block.
  8. Click on the Reorder icon.
    1. Look at the diagram below for the numbering sequence.
    2. Click on each patch on the left side of the block, numbering from top to bottom.

      NOTE: The reason for doing this is that the two halves are identical shapes, but with different colors. By numbering it in this way, when the two halves are sewn together, the seams will nest.
    3. Right Click to end the numbering. The numbers will disappear but the numbering is still there.
  9. Click on the Select icon and draw a box around the left half of the block.
  10. Click on the Workflow icon.

    1. Select a 200mm x 200 mm hoop or similar for your machine.
    2. Click the Auto Build button.
    3. If you DO NOT receive this message go to Step 11.
    4. Right Click in the window on the right side (with the numbers) and Click Reset.
    5. Holding down the CTRL Key, Click on the 1 and 2.

      1. Right Click and Group.
      2. Holding down the CTRL Key, Click on unit and 3.
      3. Right click and group.
      4. Repeat ii and iii for patches 4 through 10.
      5. DO NOT CLICK AND GROUP THE LAST NUMBER.
  11. Click Autobuild.
  12. Click Save.
    1. Click on Create a New Folder icon and name it Block 6.
    2. Double Click on the folder to open it.
    3. In the File name box enter Diamond_Delight.
    4. Save as type select Inspiration Series (C2S).
    5. Click Save.
      1. A window will open showing you the files that have been created.
        1. Diamond_Delight_001.c2s.
        2. Diamond_Delight _artwork.c2s.
        3. Diamond_Delight _preview.pdf.
    6. Close the file window.
    7. Close the Save window.
  13. Click the Select icon and draw a box around the entire block, OR Enter CTRL-A to select all of the block.
  14. Click the Cutter icon.

    1. Seam allowance default is .25”. Normally I change this to 0.4” or 0.5”, to make it easier to place the fabric pieces no matter which output format I choose.
    2. How you are going create the fabric pieces for the block, will determine which file format (hoop) to choose for the templates.
      1. If going to print the templates, and use them to manually cut the fabric pieces, select the Paper Letter 210×279.
      2. If using the Scan and Cut, select Brother SCN 12x12”.
      3. If using the Silhouette, select Silhouette 12x12”. When using digital cutters, add a 2 in the repeat box if making one block and 8 if making four blocks.
    3. Can Unclick Optimize Orientation if using a directional fabric (This will optimize how the pieces file on the paper.
    4. Click Apply.
    5. Click Save. Select the appropriate format for your cutting method.

      1. In File name enter Diamond_Delight Templates.
      2. Click Save.
      3. The Following Files have been created.
        1. Diamond_Delight templates.
        2. Diamond_Delight templates_preview.pdf.
      4. Close the files window.
      5. Close the Cutter window.
  15. Click on Create a New Design.
  16. Click on the Hoop icon and select a 200mmx200mm hoop or similar for your machine.

    Note: When using the Merge to open a file, SAVE is actually a SAVE AS and the original file is not overwritten.

  17. Click File, Merge.
    1. Locate the file Diamond_Delight_001.c2s.
    2. Double click on the file to open OR Click on the file name and Click Open.
    3. Move to the left side of the hoop.
    4. Copy, Paste.
    5. In the Properties window Click on the Transform Tab.
      1. Rotate 180.
      2. Click Apply
    6. Move to the right side of the hoop.
    7. Click Save.
    8. In the name field enter Diamond_Delight.
    9. In the Save as type select the format for your machine.
    10. Click Save.
  18. Print the templates, or prepare your fabric and send the templates to your cutter.
  19. Load the design in your machine and have fun making this block.
  20. Manually sew the two halves together.

 

 

My Block Piecer Block of the Month: Block 5 Friendship Chain Sewing Instructions

My Block Piecer
Block of the Month: Block 5 Friendship Chain
Sewing Instructions

Block 5 is our first three-unit block in the My Block Piecer Sampler Block of the Month. My Block Piecer splits some blocks into smaller units when a patch shares seam allowances with more than one patch. We’ll piece each of the three units in the hoop. Then the units will be removed from the hoop and sewn together on the sewing machine with ¼” seam allowance.

Hoop tear-away stabilizer in a large hoop. Load the first unit, Friendship Chain A into the hoop and move it the lower left corner. Stitch color 1, the placement guide.

Place patch 1 fabric, right side up, in patch 1. Stitch color 2, the tackdown.

Place patch 2 fabric, right side down, over patch 1, align the raw edges. Stitch color 3, the seam.

Flip patch 2 open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 4, the tackdown of patch 2.

Place patch 3 fabric, right side down, over patch 1, align the raw edges. Stitch color 5, the seam.

Flip patch 3 open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 6, the tackdown of patch 3.

Place patch 4 fabric, right side down, over patch 1, align the raw edges. Stitch color 7, the seam.

Flip patch 4 open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 8, the tackdown of patch 4. Unit 1 is now complete.

Move the design to the top right corner of the hoop leaving space for Friendship Chain B. Stitch the first color, placement guide.

Stitch color 5, the placement guide of Unit 2.

Repeat all of the steps above. Retrieve Friendship Chain B and center it between the previously stitched units. Stitch color 1, the placement guide.

Place patch 1 fabric, right side up, over patch 1. Stitch color 2, the tackdown.

Place patch 2 fabric, right side down, over patch 1, align the raw edges. Stitch color 3, the seam.

Flip patch 2 open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 4, the tackdown of patch 2.

Place patch 3 fabric, right side down, over patch 1, align the raw edges. Stitch color 5, the seam. Flip patch 3 open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 6, the tack down.

Remove the block from the machine and hoop. Trim the units on the outside stitch line.

Piece the units right sides together and stitch with ¼” seam allowance. If making the larger quilt, make three more blocks and set them aside. It’s fun to play with different layouts but it might be wise to wait until all blocks are made to finalize the layouts.

Created by Nancy Stansbury

My Block Piecer Block of the Month: Block 5 Friendship Chain Software Instructions

My Block Piecer
Block of the Month : Block 5 Friendship Chain
Software Instructions
By Nancy Stansbury

This ongoing Block of the Month series was designed to inspire you to learn new techniques using My Block Piecer.  As a reminder, the first Saturday of every month will feature the software lesson using My Block Piecer.  The following Wednesday will feature the sewing lesson.

  • You are free to adapt the block to a size of your preference.
  • A free trial of My Block Piecer is available if you’d like to try it before you buy it.  Note the “Save” feature is deactivated until the software is purchased.
  • Interested in learning more about My Block Piecer and other Inspirations Software?  Join us at an Inspirations Event.  Click the Events link for events near you.
  • If you’re late to the Block of the Month “party” have no fear!  Start with Block 5 or spend a little time catching up.

Let’s continue the journey of learning and creativity!


  1. Open MBP.
  2. Click on Create a New Design.
  3. If the units for the ruler on the design page show mm, Right Click on either one of the rulers on the Design Page, and Click on Inches.
  4. Right Click on either ruler again and click on Grid Settings.
    1. Check marks by:
      1. Maintain aspect ratio
      2. Snap to grid.
    2. Set Horizontal spacing to 0.25.
    3. Click OK.
  5. Click on the Block Icon.
  1. Enter Friendship Chain in the Find box at the bottom of the window (DO NOT CLICK THE ENTER KEY).
  2. Click on the Down green arrow.
  3. Click OK to place the block on the design page.
  • In the Properties Window on the right side of the screen click on the Transform icon.

    1. Have Maintain aspect ratio checked.
    2. Change the Width to 6.
    3. Click Apply.
  • Click on the Reorder icon.
    1. Look at the diagram below for the numbering sequence.Note: The block can be numbered differently, remembering that this is a stitch and flip method of sewing and that each piece can only have one straight seam to connect it to the previous piece.
    2. Right Click to end the numbering. The numbers will disappear but the numbering is still there.
  • Click on the Select icon and click on patches 1 through 3.
  • Click on the Workflow icon.

    1. Select a 200mm x 200 mm hoop or similar for your machine.
    2. Click the Auto Build button.
  • Click Preview. Click Save.
    1. Click on Create a New Folder icon and name Block5.
    2. Double Click on the folder to open it.
    3. In the File name box enter Friendship_Chain_A.
    4. Save as type select Inspiration Series (C2S).
    5. Click Save.
    6. A window will open showing you the files that have been created.
      1. Friendship_Chain_A_001.c2s.
      2. Friendship_Chain_A _artwork.c2s.
      3. Friendship_Chain_A _preview.pdf.
    7. Close the files window.
    8. Close the Save window.
  • Click on the Select icon and click on 4 of the patches in the lower left of the block.
  • Click on the Workflow icon. The numbers have been changed to 1-4.

    1. Click the Auto Build button.
  • Click Preview.
  • Click Save.
    1. In the File name box enter Friendship_Chain_B.
    2. Save as type select Inspiration Series (C2S).
    3. Click Save.
    4. A window will open showing you the files that have been created.
      1. Friendship_ChainB_001.c2s.
      2. Friendship_ChainB _artwork.c2s.
      3. Friendship_ChainB _preview.pdf.
    5. Close the file window.
    6. Close the Save window.NOTE: Since the triangle on the upper part of the block is identical to the one that was just created, there is no need to create a third embroidery design.
  • Click the Select icon and draw a box around the entire block, OR Enter CTRL-A to select all of the block.
  • Click the Cutter icon.

    1. Seam allowance default is .25”. Normally I change this to 0.4” or 0.5”, to make it easier to place the fabric pieces no matter which output format I choose.
    2. How you are going create the fabric pieces for the block, will determine which file format (hoop) to choose for the templates.
      1. If going to manually cut the fabric pieces, print the templates and select the Paper Letter 210×279.
      2. If going to use the Scan and Cut, select Brother SCN 12x12”.
      3. If going to use the Silhouette, select Silhouette 12x12”.
    3. Can Unclick Optimize Orientation if using a directional fabric (This will optimize how the pieces fit on the paper.
    4. Click Apply.
    5. Click Save.
      1. In File name enter Friendship_Chain Templates.
      2. Select the proper digital format (from the drop down menu) if using a digital cutter and click Save.
      3. Since I’m using paper templates, the following files have been created.
        1. Friendship_Chain templates.
        2. Friendship_Chain templates_preview.pdf.
      4. Close the files window.
      5. Close the Cutter window
  • Click on Create a New Design.Note: When using the Merge to open a file, SAVE is actually a SAVE AS and the original file is not overwritten.
  • Click the Hoop Icon, and select 200mmx200mm hoop or similar.
    Note: If desired the embroideries can be saved in a specific format individually or they can be combined into one file.
  • Using the File, Merge
    1. Locate the file Friendship_ChainA.c2s.
    2. Double Click to open, or Click on file and Click open.
  • File, Merge, Open Friendship_ChainB.c2s.
  • Move to the lower left corner of the hoop
  • Copy, Paste.
  • Click the Transform Icon on the Properties Window.
  • Rotate 180 degrees.
  • Move to the upper right corner of the hoop
  • Save.
    1. In the name file enter Friendship Chain.
    2. Save as type enter the format for your machine.
    3. Click Save.
  • Print the templates, or prepare your fabric and send the templates to your cutter.
  • Load the design into your machine and have fun making this block.

 

Nancy’s Sewing Weekend

I just arrived in Beaver Dam, WI for Nancy’s Sewing Weekend.  It’s always a fun time – full of great classes, inspiring samples and wonderful people.  Of course, this year will be a little different without Nancy but we’re all committed to carrying on this great tradition.  If you’re in Wisconsin or Ilinois or Iowa or Minnesota or…well, you get the idea, head to Beaver Dam.  I’m reposting Saturday’s blog from Zieman Productions here.  Read on to see what’s happening at Nancy’s Notions this weekend, May 3-5, 2018.

What started as a grand opening in 1985 has grown into one of Wisconsin’s largest annual sewing events. This year’s events start Thursday, May 3rd, and run through Saturday, May 5th. FREE Admission and FREE Parking!

Join in on 24 seminars featuring top educators and designers

New! Sewing Weekend speakers include:

      • Sara Gallegos
      • Mike Johns
      • Joi Mahon

Returning favorite speakers include:

      • Eileen Roche
      • Marti Michell
      • Linda McGehee
      • Pamela Leggett
      • Mary Mulari

Find seminar details and class ticket pricing over at the Nancy’s Notions website.

Nancy Zieman Nancy's Notions Sewing Weekend Expo 2012Test-drive a Baby Lock Sewing Machine!

Baby Lock LogoHands-on classes are running throughout the weekend. While many are sold out, tickets for select days and times are available onsite at Nancy’s Notions Sewing Weekend.

Nancy Zieman Nancy's Notions Sewing Weekend Expo 2012Free Demonstrations by the Experts

Company representatives from some of the top brands in the sewing industry are available at Sewing Weekend to answer questions and demonstrate products.

NEW! This Year: Food Trucks

    • Food Trucks—7 food trucks/vendors will be part of the Sewing Weekend festivities this year. You won’t need to leave the event to travel to an off-site food location, unless you choose to do so. A seating area and tent will be near the food trucks. It’s a great way to enjoy a variety of choices plus support other Wisconsin-based businesses. Trucks and vendors participating include:
      • Lisa’s Pizza (serving an array of pizzas and pasta)
      • Mac’s BBQ (serving chicken sandwiches, pulled pork sandwiches, shredded beef sandwiches, jambalaya, coleslaw, potato salad, etc.)
      • Cold Stone Creamery (serving various flavors of ice cream, of course)
      • Curd Girl (serving their specialty fried cheese curds)
      • Gouda Girls (serving specialty grilled cheese sandwiches)
      • We Go Waffles (serving waffles that are both sweet and savory)
      • Mobile Café Express (serving coffee as well as breakfast and lunch food options)

Nancy Zieman Nancy's Notions Sewing Weekend Expo 2012Don’t Miss the 3-Day Super Sale!

  • Over 10,000 yards of fabric on sale; and more! Save up to 75% on select Clearance and Overstock items. New deals daily!

Nancy Zieman Nancy's Notions Sewing Weekend Expo 2012

Nancy Zieman Nancy's Notions Sewing Weekend Expo 2012

Nancy Zieman Nancy's Notions Sewing Weekend Expo 2012

  • Ride the FREE! shuttle buses to seminar locations.

Nancy Zieman Nancy's Notions Sewing Weekend Expo 2012

  • You can even check your packages while you’re attending seminars and workshops.

Nancy Zieman Nancy's Notions Sewing Weekend Expo 2012

  • You’ll find lots of inspiration! Scott Stanton, accounting and IT guru, sports one of his personalized ties. Yes, Scott made it himself. Every day of Sewing Weekend he wears a tie that he made.

Nancy Zieman Nancy's Notions Sewing Weekend Expo 2012

Nancy Zieman Nancy's Notions Sewing Weekend Expo 2012Special Exhibits and Displays!

Quilt_Expo_Black_and_White_Plus_One_First_Place_WinnerQuilt_Expo_Black_and_White_Plus_One_Second_Place_WinnerQuilt_Expo_Black_and_White_Plus_One_Third_Place_WinnerQuilt_Expo_Black_and_White_Plus_One_Honorable_Mention_WinnerJoin us in celebrating the 34th annual Sewing Weekend, May 3–5, 2018—at Nancy’s Notions in Beaver Dam, WI. What started as a grand opening in 1985, Sewing Weekend has grown into one of Wisconsin’s largest annual sewing events.

Remember the first Sewing Weekend?

Check out these photos from the 1985 Grand Opening of Nancy’s Notions:

Thank you to Nancy, for her vision in creating an annual event for us to gather and celebrate sewing. This year, we celebrate Nancy and her many contributions to the sewing world, her elegant style and gracious living.

Hope to see you there!

Circles Got You Going in Circles?

If your embroidered circles look more like ovals than you know what I mean by ‘circles have you going in circles?’  What you see on the computer screen is not necessarily what you see stitched on fabric.  That can be frustrating but help is just a click away.

Recently, I was digitizing a new Stipple collection that features a rainbow of embroidered polka dots.  Unfortunately, I can’t unveil the new collection just yet but it will be available soon. Back to the problem at hand,  I was diligently working away and stitched my sample.  Ugh! My circles weren’t round, they were oval.

And that’s definitely a rookie digitizing mistake.  In Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro, it’s so easy to fix this problem.  I selected all of the polka dots and changed the Pull/Pull setting in the Properties Box.  Here’s how to do it.

Use the artwork tool to draw a small circle (.25″) diameter).  Convert it to satin.  Click on the Pull/Push tab in the Properties Box.  Notice the Value is set at 100%.

Change the value to 120%.

View the difference on the screen.  Notice the higher percentage fills out the circle across the width. The width of the dot now measures .28″ while the height remained the same at .25″.

The difference is minute but it’s all that was needed. My circles are now really circles!

Hidden Treasure

Buried in the Properties Box in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro is Projection. A hidden and often forgotten treasure, Projection takes a simple shape and transforms it into a hoop full of beautiful stitches.  When Projection was introduced as a new feature in a free update in June 2017, most of us looked at it as something fun to incorporate into open airy designs, like this butterfly.

But let me show you what it can do with a simple geometric shape like the diamond. Click on the Run stitch tool and select the Art tool. Select Diamond from the drop down menu. Drag the cursor to draw a 1″ x 1.25″ diamond.

In the Properties Box on the Run tab, select Projection from the Type field. 

The diamond is filled with smaller diamonds, the default setting is 3.0 stitch length and 1.5 Density.  That’s a too many repeats for me so I’ll decrease the density.

Change the stitch length to 2.4 and the Density to 5.0.

Select the diamond and click on the Carousel tool.  Select Reflect.

In the preview window, type 2 in the repeat field and click Apply.

The hoop is filled with the diamond repeats. 

Select the diamonds, go to to Edit, Optimize Sequence.  Click on Slow Redraw to watch the design stitch seamlessly from diamond to diamond. 

I can’t wait to stitch this in some specialty threads. First, I’ll use KingStar Metallic and then I’ll stitch a second sample in Medley variegated thread.  After I see those samples, I’ll copy and paste the diamonds to fill the open areas.  Oh my, so many possibilities! There are so many hidden treasure in your software!

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